One of the things I love about staying in a hotel is the fact that I’m not responsible for cleaning anything. However, that means someone else is tasked with cleaning duties, and has been shown numerous times in undercover investigations and news reports, those folks may not be doing a superlative job.

It’s easy enough to request another room if obvious signs of neglect such as crumbs, hairs, stains and other debris are visible. I make it a point to inspect my room before I unpack, looking for everything from dead insects, mold, and mildew to whether the toiletry items are brand new, rather than leftovers from a previous guest.

What’s not visible to my naked eye are germs, bacteria, and worse (think CSI and black light) that have settled on commonly used items, such as the bedspread, remote control, light switches, and drawer pulls. I use a travel-size pack of antibacterial wipes to sanitize the last three items on that list—and anything else I feel needs such treatment. As for the bedspread, I remove it from the bed and place it in the closet or in a corner of the room, washing my hands after touching it.

Two other actions I take to ensure a hotel stay doesn’t negatively affect my health:

  • I never use the glasses provided in the room (since they may not have been properly cleaned and sterilized). Bottled water is a safer alternative.
  • I never let my bare feet touch the floor (since carpet is typically vacuumed, but not shampooed or sterilized between guests). I bring ballet slippers or socks solely for in-room use.

Staying at a hotel should be a restful experience, not one fraught with anxiety. Travel safe!


Adrienne Moch is a freelance writer/editor based in San Diego who loves to travel.


Some high-tech solutions to the germ issue:

KIKAR Portable UV Sanitizer Hand Wand Ultra Violet Light Kill Bacteria & Germ Sterilizer

Nano UV Disinfecting Scanner